Lawton Chiles Middle Academy Principal Brian Andrews earns ‘Principal of the Year’ award

A Lakeland school principal recently earned a state-wide “Principal of the Year” award, praised for his inclusion of technology into the daily learning processes.

Lawton Chiles Middle Academy Principal Brian Andrews told Bay News 9 that he’s always reading technology-related news stories, searching for new ideas and devices that students could use at school.

Brian Andrews photo/ Facebook

“I just think you have to believe you can do anything at the end of the day,” Andrews said. That is an idea he preaches to the students.

“They have to believe in themselves.”

The school features large, laboratory style classrooms and one features 3D printers to teach students how to engineer their creative designs and bring them to life. The Lawton Chiles Middle Academy also houses a hydroponic garden.

During the coverage of the award, teacher Peggy Thomas praised Andrews for his passion of technology and how that gets contagious.

“Exactly, and that’s what happens on campus,” she said.

Andrews may come up with the ideas, but he gives teachers flexibility in terms of how those ideas are implemented.

“I can’t think of it all by myself,” Andrews said. “I’m a big idea guy most of the time, then you have to figure out ‘how do we make this go?’”

Andrews made headlines last year after a PTA fundraising plan involved paying to get kids to the front of the lunch line.

“I believe the intentions were meant to be beneficial, however, parents do not always have the perspective of a principal,” Andrews said at the time, offering up calm leadership during the crisis. “Donations are welcome and accepted, however this addition including front of the lunch line was not approved by me, and our school goes above and beyond to be inclusive of all students. This simply did not reflect our philosophy and I felt fortunate to be in a position to eliminate it before it got off the ground.”


The 2018 Innovative Principal of the Year Award resulted in an unprecedented three way tie this year. Congratulations to 

Anne Lynaugh, Principal, Millennia Elementary School, Orange County
Michael Meechin, Principal, Poinciana High School, Osceola County
Brian Andrews, Principal, Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, Polk County

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